Whether we admit it or not, at some point in time we have all had a run-in with the law. It may have been something as simple as a speeding ticket or as complex as possession of marijuana. As time passes and we begin to apply for jobs, many people question if they need to advise these potential employers about a prior incident with the law. Some job applicants feel reassured that their prior history will not be discovered because he or she received and completed a conditional discharge. However, this is not the case and the best way, if you qualify, to ensure past incidents do not need to be reported on certain job applications is to file a petition for expungement.
Many of you may have never heard of the concept of expunging your criminal record. A Petition for Expungment requests that all records of your arrest be deleted from all local, state and federal police data bases.
In January 2016 Governor Chris Christie signed into law a measure designed to ease the path toward expungement of some criminal records. The new bill will reduce the waiting period for expungement from ten years to five years for certain convictions from the date of the person’s last conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration, whichever is later.
In the case of a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense, the waiting period would be reduced from five years to three years. Those with a criminal conviction or conviction for a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense would have to apply for an expungement with the State Superior Court in the County in which the conviction was adjudged.
The new law will also allow expungement of criminal conviction records for certain people who have completed a sentence of special probation in Drug Court.
A Judge would be permitted to order the expungement of all records and information relating to all prior criminal arrests, detention, convictions and proceedings for any offense enumerated in the state’s criminal code. A person would not be eligible for expungement if his or her records include a conviction of any offense barred from expungement under current law, which includes most violent crimes.
A criminal record can affect a person’s ability to secure housing, employment and loans. Records of your conviction may be still be available in the municipality in which you plead guilty and/or the Superior Court in the County in which you were convicted. A petition for Expungement is the best and only way to ensure that these records are deleted.